Wednesday, July 4, 2018

Album Review: Kissin' Dynamite - Ecstasy

Rock and roll might not be dead, but it lives in the shadows, at least in America. When you turn on the radio, all you hear are either pop songs, hip-hop songs, a mix of them, or some flaccid bunch of whining that has usurped the word 'rock'. Real rock and roll is hard to find, and when you do, it certainly doesn't get the love or attention it should. Rock used to be the soundtrack to life, because it was through rock and roll that we were able to live our dreams, albeit vicariously. Now, rock is shorthand for being stodgy and old, for being out of touch with the current culture. I am certainly out of touch, and so is Kissin' Dynamite.

They are unabashedly a rock and roll band, borrowing from the Def Leppard school of the 80s, where the choruses are bright and layered with sweetened gang vocals to make them sound larger than life. It's rock and roll of the neon lights type, not the gritty and bluesy feel of the 70s, but the kind that filled the Sunset Strip and served as the soundtrack to nights the participants recall fondly even though they can't remember a thing they did back then.

That's the gist of things here. There isn't much need to go into the songs individually, because it's the general aura that wins out over any of them on their own. The material is all rock solid, if you will, but what makes or breaks the record is what you want out of your rock and roll. If you're one of those people who listen for the aggression and anger, who use rock for a release, Kissin' Dynamite is going to disappoint you. That's not what they're here for. They've made an album that is perfect to throw on while you and your friends bang your heads and have a good time.

Ok, I'll be honest and say I don't ever do that, but this would be a good record if I did.

We've become accustomed to thinking rock and roll is broken, and that something new needs to come along and fix it. Records like this prove that line of thinking to be completely wrong. I'm not saying "Ecstasy" is ever going to be a classic record, because it isn't, but it does prove that rock is still a vital form of music. Listening to this record, I can hear in it the elements that made me love music and pick up a guitar. The band isn't breaking any new ground, but that's pretty much the point. Our desire for something new is misguided. What we need to search for is something better.

"Ecstasy" is a solid good-time rock and roll record that does exactly what it wants to. If all you want is to spend some time bobbing your head and raising the horns, Kissin' Dynamite has a record for you. If you're demanding something more inventive or progressive, you're looking in the wrong direction. "Ecstasy" is a better Tremonti record than the one he just released.

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